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Yoga Can Help Body, Mind

But think about it differently than most exercise programs

(HealthDay) -- When you take that yoga class, are you going for the burn?

If so, you may be missing out on something. According to an article from The Record, of Bergen County, N.J., yoga can provide you with many physical and psychological benefits. But it can help to think about yoga a little differently than you do most exercise programs.

Some yoga teachers say they often see Type A personalities who want to burn off calories. And yoga can help you do that. But to focus solely on that goal, they say, is to miss some of the benefits of regular yoga practice -- in particular, the aspects that can help you better understand yourself and your life, thereby reducing stress.

For people who want to take yoga to a more physical level, however, several different types of the discipline exist. Hatha yoga, a type particularly popular with Westerners, sometimes is billed as "power yoga" by the gyms and fitness centers that offer classes. Repetitions and intensity often are emphasized.

The key, however, is to work within your ability level. Don't fall into the "no pain, no gain" trap. Remain aware of how you're feeling and what your limits are. Payoffs include increased flexibility, improved muscle tone and greater endurance and stamina. Additional benefits include a sense of clarity and calm.

To find out more about the benefits of yoga, read this article from The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, or this one from Yoga Journal.

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